Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day Trip Up North

After a long weekend at Vegas and then a long work week, I definitely needed an escape.  At first I thought sitting around at my house and just relaxing would be a great way to decompress.  But after Saturday afternoon and watching Wisconsin fall to Michigan, I determined staying in Los Angeles was not going to do the trick.  

So at 7:30PM on Saturday, I decided that a drive to Bishop was in order.  Thankfully, I always keep my backpack packed with all my gear, so 7:45PM I was on the road up to the mountains.  The main idea was to take a good hike and take some pictures.  The weather was forecasting 60's with a 20% of thunderstorms after 11AM.  Perfect!  The drive up was pretty tame, other than the close call of hitting an elk on the 395.  

I arrived in Bishop around 11PM and discovered all the campsites were gated up due to winter.  This surprised me since it wasn't even October, but oh well, I improvise.  With it getting late, I just figured no one was coming around until the morning.  So I slept in the backpackers parking lot at North Lake.  I awoke to 30 degree weather!  If you're jealous, you should be... it was stellar.  I packed up and headed off to Lake Sabrina and started hiking before sunrise.

(Fall colors before sunrise)

The hike started off very well.  I packed my SLR, three lenses, a pop-tart for breakfast, some water and a pump, and a trail map seeing I had no idea where I wanted to go.  After hiking on the main trail around the lake, I decided to do a little bushwacking and see what I could stumble across.

(Aspens bordering Lake Sabrina)

The bushwacking paid off, I came across a stream that was needed.  One, waterfalls are fun.  Two, I needed to pump some water and didn't feel like hiking down to the lake.  So after messing around taking pictures, I figured it was time to get back to the trail and decided where I was headed.

(Stream headed down to the lake)

After looking at the map, I decided to head up and hike 2.5 miles to a lake at 10,500 feet.  Once I got above the tree line, I was glad I did.  The views of the lake were amazing.  Plus the sun felt pretty nice.  After getting into the sun and taking off some layers, I decided to sit near a cliff looking over the lake and eat my breakfast.  Nothing beats a poptart in the mountains, I promise.  After breakfast, I headed up 500 more feet to Blue Lake and looked around.  Nothing too exciting, pretty much a mountain lake above the tree line.  So I decided to head back before the clouds decided to roll in.

(View while eating breakfast)

The hike down, I ran into a few groups headed up the way I came.  Other than that, it was pretty much uneventful.  Took a few more pictures, talked to a couple folks at the trailhead, and just enjoyed the perfect weather.  
(Lake Sabrina)

All in all, very glad I drove up for the day.  Very well worth it.  You can't beat the weather right now and the fall colors are just bursting everywhere.  I really think all should head up there soon to enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Gym is Open!!!

Looks who's back! Due to the fact the month of August turned out to be a slow one, I had nothing to report. But I do have one thing to report that has me pretty psyched! After 3 weeks of construction, my climbing gym is finally all up! Minus some holds and one panel, it is stellar! Jugs, crimps, pinchers, and slopers... OH MY!

(The framing)

I'd say the hardest part was putting up the framing.  I think that it would have gone a lot smoother if I would have asked for help, but I lived and learned why I don't make a great construction worker.  But man, my trig skills are solid!  I guess I did graduate as an aerospace engineer and if I was bad at math, we'd all have some problems.

(Final result!)

The gym has three sections.  A twenty degree wall, a forty-five degree wall, and a roof.  There is a traverse that starts at the roof and ends on the twenty degree wall that is definitely hard.  Still haven't able to put it all together in a single try.  

(Time to get in those 100 pull-ups)

I really have to thank Justin Mages for giving me a great deal on all the wood!  And most of the holds are from Contact holds and I've been pleasantly surprised.  Super nice and don't tear up the hands.  Which is good when I climb every night...